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What did Chicago Teachers Union win for members and students? What are they still fighting for?

In the ongoing battle in the court of public opinion about the past teachers strike, the Chicago Teachers Union released a video to highlight the rampant neglect throughout the school district. The film, “The Black & White Truth,” features rank-and-file educators, parents, high school students and CTU leaders in candid discussions about the need for neighborhood school resources and the role teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians play in the learning process.

“Mayor Emanuel got everything he wanted to reform education in Chicago, including his longer school day that didn’t include an education plan; a 75 percent strike approval threshold that we blew out of the water; and, a new, deeply flawed evaluation system that rates teachers based on standardized test scores and will have a disparate impact on nearly 10,000 teachers,” said Lewis. “Our contract campaign was about evening the playing field so our students, regardless of income and zip code, get a high-quality education in well-resourced and well-staffed neighborhood schools.

What did they win?

From Zaid Jilani:

A REASONABLE SCHOOL LENGTH: Chicago originally proposed a 7 hour, 40 minute school day that threatened to overwork students and teachers (especially without proper compensation). CTU won a 7 hour day for elementary school and 7 hour, 15 minute day for high school

FUNDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION IN ARTS AND MUSIC: CPS originally had proposed no funding for additional staff. CTU won funding for over 600 new positions, mostly for arts, music, and physical education — important outlets for a comprehensive education.

MAYORAL ACCOUNTABILITY: The original contract called for a length of five years, meaning that Mayor Rahm Emanuel would not be responsible for negotiating another one within his term. The new contract lasts for 3 years, meaning the next negotiation would be during the mayoral race and allow teachers and parents to hold the mayor accountable.

KEEPING HEALTH CARE COSTS DOWN: The original contract would’ve had a nearly 40 percent increase on families and couples. Now, there will be a freeze on health care premiums and co-pays for all CTU members.

FAIR EVALUATIONS: 70 percent of a teacher’s quality rating will be based on their practice rather than student test scores.

A MORE FAIR PAY RAISE: Originally, CPS was only offering a 2 percent pay raise with no guaranteed raise for the following four years. Now, there will be a 3 percent pay raise and a 2 percent raise each of the next couple years.

MORE MONEY FOR SUPPLIES; TEXTBOOKS ON DAY ONE: Originally CPS was only offering $100 for supplies per teacher. Now that will be raised to $250. Additionally, there will be guaranteed textbook distribution on the first day of classes, for the first time ever.

CTU members have contended their fight is a “righteous fight… for the soul of public education.”  Despite a media blitz by out-of-town education reformers and Republican White House contenders who support Mayor Emanuel, the majority of taxpayers and parents agree with public school educators who have gone on strike over compensation, job security, healthy and safe working conditions and the new evaluation procedures. Parents and community groups continue to rally for smaller class sizes, more art, music, world language and physical education instruction for their students and fair discipline policies.

Originally posted to Tristero 312 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:22 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MadRuth, Mentatmark, karmsy, Renee, BobboSphere

    "Your conspiracy theories won't work without evidence." -Nasir Jones

    by Tristero 312 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:22:08 AM PDT

  •  Over the weekend I was listening (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to an NPR interview about the strike. The interviewer made the claim that the pay increase was 17%.  My gut told me this was BS, but can you explain where that number comes from?

    If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes. - Alan Lewis

    by MadRuth on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:28:33 AM PDT

    •  Teachers get raises for 3 reasons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There is a cost of living raise - that is the 3 2 2 reported, which increases starting salaries as well as the base for everyone else. CTU teachers also get a raise for each year of service, I believe they call this "lanes". And finally they get an automatic raise for completing various amounts of graduate education (76% of Chicago teachers and nearly all veteran teachers have masters degrees). The 17 % is the average teacher increase in compensation over the life of the contract (I believe this includes the optional 4th year of the contract).

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        was all this won in the strike? That seems to be the way the anti union folks are framing it?

        If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes. - Alan Lewis

        by MadRuth on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:02:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually almost all this was agreed months ago (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The stuff you are reading about everything the union won is coming from the union. They are somewhat overstating the gains from the strike by comparing the final contract to the initial offer from CPS. There was an initial breakthrough in negotiations about a month ago that most folks thought had averted a strike. Included in that agreement was the 7 hour (instead of 7.5) day and hiring 500 additional teachers to help provide some break time and support for arts and language.

          The key terms gained by the strike were:

          Reduced the role of test results from 40 percent to the minimum (under state law) 30% in teacher evaluations.

          Established a pool of teachers laid off or dismissed from closed schools and established preferences for hiring them.

          Capped the health care contributions from teachers.

          Eliminated wellness program penalties for smokers.

          Reduced the contract length from 5 years to 3 years with a teacher option for one more.

          Completely eliminated merit pay and peer evaluation. CPS wanted to use peer evaluation to give bonuses to star teachers.

  •  Raises (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The raises were 3% the first year, 2% the second and third year and there is an option to extent the contract one more year at 3%.

    "Your conspiracy theories won't work without evidence." -Nasir Jones

    by Tristero 312 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:51:17 AM PDT

  •  what did the union ask for? (0+ / 0-)

    An editorial in my local paper, starting off by citing the Washington Times, states that Chicago teachers are among the best paid in the country averaging $70,000/year, and claims the the teacher's union "demanded a 30% pay increase, by stages, over two years".
    Is that true and can somebody give me some ammo?

    Republicans - the party that wrecked America

    by ecologydoc on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 05:21:00 PM PDT

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